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Recorder Thread!


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#3886 Zixi

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 17:15

@AdLibitum - that's better than being on the bus to the gallery! :lol:

 

OaG - that's the one. I bought it because I heard John Everingham playing the Bolero. It was ages before I could get a note out of it. And I agree, it is uncomfortable to play. My husband - who has played the Boehm and the Irish flute says it isn't uncomfortable for him so I do wonder if one gets used to it or perhaps it's a matter of how it is held. I know when I started the descant, bottom C was a stretch for my fingers - I do have small hands - but it isn't a problem now because I hold the recorder properly. It's *much* easier to get a note out of the headpiece of the Boehm flute! But I still find that after a very short time, my arms and shoulders ache.


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#3887 elemimele

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 17:54

I bought an Aulos AF1 flute. It's almost certainly not the best value for money, but the reasoning was that I wanted a baroque flute capable of all keys, rather than an Irish flute optimised for D and G, and I knew I didn't know enough about the two types of flutes to make sure I was buying the right thing. I believe true Baroque flute makers are a bit sniffy about the aulos and complain it has a few rather non-period features, but it's not a bad starting-place for what I wanted. It's good for me.

It has the six holes needed for an Irish flute (some Irish flutes have some extra holes at the end that are too far for you to block with fingers; they're not really relevant, but they're traditional) - but also a key for D#. It's in four parts, which means the head-joint can be rotated relative to the fingers, to solve the problem that OaG described. In fact the Irish players, I believe from videos, often do the same thing. The end joint with the key on it can also be rotated to whatever position gives you best access to the key without clashes with the next finger.

When I first picked it up, I found it very awkward, but that was because I was thinking recorder-style: I didn't think to turn the embouchure hole towards me slightly (though Quantz recommends this too). Also I quite naturally assumed that one should hold the flute with the fingers perpendicular to the body of the flute, and the left thumb more-or-less under the left index finger. That approach doesn't really work on something held sideways. Quantz says the thumb should be under the middle finger, with the hand turned at an angle so the body of the flute rests against the first joint of the index finger. Held like that, it's much, much more comfortable and secure, the only penalty being slightly less flexibility available in the index finger. Having got those problems sorted out, it's not such a stretch on the fingers, but it's still a fairly long instrument, so it's never going to appeal to those with small hands as much as a descant recorder. Also, while it's quite easy to play a recorder in all sorts of contorted positions, I find flute needs (for me) a more correct standing-straight posture. People say good Irish flutists sit in all sorts of strange ways and manage to play brilliantly, so maybe it's just my problem.

I've never tried a Boehm flute, so I can't compare them. I'd love to, one day.


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#3888 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 21:06

I bought an Aulos AF1 flute.

 

Ah, yes, I remember now you did say so - I couldn't remember and was too lazy to look back through the thread.  Thanks for the reminder about Quantz, I never thought to look, but I'll dig my copy out and see if I can arrive at a position that at least less uncomfortable than the one I'm using now.  Also, I'm sitting, not standing, I don't know if that makes much difference.


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#3889 anacrusis

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Posted 27 February 2020 - 23:52

The recorder is finished :D 

(unless you count the fact that it needs frequent dosing with oil for the next wee while)

 

Our first job today was cutting the chamfers on the block and windway - this is one of the very skilled tasks as they direct the air around the labium - cut away too much, and the result is breathy. Jacqueline had brought along a stack of instruments including some which are built on the same pattern as the one we were making: we could test the results of work on the head by using a finished middle joint and foot from a previously made instrument. The block also needed its final shaping - it's very slightly concave along its length and could be checked against a straight edge and then filed or sanded to shape. I was thinking over today that even if it is daunting to think of building whole instruments with all the specialised equipment which is needed, a very good way into some of the technical work would be to try making blocks for some of my duff instruments: there's then always the fallback position of putting back the old block again in the event of failure. (and maybe a course in spindle turning, just because the rings and shaping on recorders look so very pretty). There was plenty more peering down the windway with the block in place, looking to see if the block was parallel to the top of the windway, and to the line of the labium. It was fun to hear the instrument's voice at last, though very odd to blow down a recorder head with the beak not yet cut out of it. Earlier on in the block shaping process the sound would be muffled, but interestingly not equally muffled on every note, and as it got better the notes would improve one by one. Once we were happy with the evenness of the sound over the two octaves ( and top F was sounding readily!) it was time to cut the beak to shape. I was anxious about that bit - I have used coping saws now and again, and simply can't make them cut neatly and evenly, plus it seems sacrilegious to hack into the lovely turning and finishing work. The result of that cut was... errr... untidy, so the next bit was filing and sanding, and eventually I got all the saw marks out. 

Next came the tuning, so now the middle section and foot which actually belong to the instrument were assembled with the head, and the painstaking work of getting each finger hole big enough and smoothed over began. The two double holes also were filed over to make the dents for ring and little finger. Each note was blown to a tuning meter and adjusted to almost the correct pitch, and once the two double holes had been sorted, the foot needed re-reaming to get the pitch right. a combination of a specially adapted craft knife, a file and sandpaper were used, and all the sharp edges of the holes, inside and out, were smoothed over to give the airflow no chance to become turbulent. We could hear the differences in the sound as the work progressed, and some fun was had playing mad tunes with the out of tune top end of the instrument, a sort of Les Dawson on the recorder thing. We learned that changing the finger hole dimensions also has different effects on pitch in the upper register compared with the lower one - so if one isn't careful, tuning one octave can throw the other one out. 

At the end of all that - a recorder, beautiful to look at and better still, sounding lovely - I'm so happy with it, and will now need to get hold of some raw linseed oil and see if I can source citrus oil too - the proportions are nearer to 33% citrus to 67% linseed: the recorder is very thirsty still and will need careful blowing in. I'm looking forward to getting to know it :D


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#3890 elemimele

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 07:05

wow! that's such, such happy news! The whole process sounds so fulfilling, fun, rewarding, and productive. And a new instrument is born, too...

Yes, you should definitely keep doing this.

(and can anyone cut neatly with a coping saw??)


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#3891 Maizie

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 08:01

It all sounds super-amazing.

I may have been enthusing a little too much at Mr Maizie; he thinks it sounds good and just said 'whenever you've got the time...' :o


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#3892 AdLibitum

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 08:28

Wow, congratulations, anacrusis!
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#3893 andante_in_c

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 09:42

I've so enjoyed hearing about your week, anacrusis. Completely out of my comfort zone, as I've never been any good at hands-on stuff, but fascinating to get such a clear insight into the process. I look forward to hearing how you get on with the recorder as you play it in. 


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#3894 Zixi

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 10:11

elemimele's right - it really is about a new recorder is born! So I want to say: Welcome to the recorder world anacrusis's recorder! :lol:

 

It's been fascinating and I've enjoyed your journey very much indeed! Thank you!!!  I'll never do that for myself because of Doggy but it's given me an insight into how it's done and what you've experienced along the way. I think maintenance will be a totally different animal from now on and you'll have a new way of looking at your other instruments.

 

What happens externally? Is there much sanding and smoothing and is the external finish provided by the oils?

 

Mr M is right, Maizie - you can put it on the list for when you're ready! ;)


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#3895 elemimele

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 13:24

perhaps we're all supposed to knit a recorder-warmer??  :)


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#3896 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 15:16

perhaps we're all supposed to knit a recorder-warmer??  :)

 

Ok, I give up: you'll have to explain that one!


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#3897 Zixi

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 16:03

It made me laugh. I assumed elemimele was referring to giving newborns booties... :lol: :lol: :lol:


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#3898 anacrusis

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 16:34

hehehe, the knitting would have to wait til I am home - sadly I don't have any of the sock wool from my avatar photo left ;) 

 

Zixi - finishing is done with a series of ever finer sandpapers, then oiling, and I've been told I can also use a buffing wheel once the oil is dry - the 415 Sorel treble I had bought last year is unbelievably smooth and silky to the touch. Sanding the ornamental rings is a complex task, as it's all too easy to blunt their profile - Jacqueline is a perfectionist so gives detailed guidance on the process. 

 

Maizie - I hope you have as much fun in your class as I had in mine :) 


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#3899 old_and_grumpy

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Posted 28 February 2020 - 16:52

It made me laugh. I assumed elemimele was referring to giving newborns booties... :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

Aha - I obviously lack the knitting instinct - or something.  I think I'll settle for a glass of wine.


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#3900 Zixi

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Posted 29 February 2020 - 10:07

There's a tension between smoothing the wood and making sure it doesn't repel the oil (or wax). I must admit, the finishing of a recorder really does appeal to me as I like hand sanding. It does sound as if you've come away with some life-changing skills and experiences. It's been great reading about your progress! :)

 

As an aside, I always wondered if you knitted the socks! So now I know. I had a Dutch friend who was very into knitting socks and then went down the (traditional) felting route... I've only ever done needle felting...

 

@OaG - enjoy the wine! :lol:


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